Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Salad Bar and Other Tomato Hazards

Last night I was invited to a salad potluck. It was a wonderful repast among good friends and amazingly no one put tomatoes in their salad nor were they well informed about the tomato food poisoning scare either.

Right now you can only eat certain kinds of tomooes — cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and tomatoes on the vine. Other types of tomatoes like plum tomatoes and roma tomatoes and “other large red raw tomatoes” which is too vague should be avoided.

I live in Arizona and saw beefsteak tomatoes for sale and questioned the produce manager and he said they were not a problem. I, on the hand, think they are a problem waiting to happen.

Here’s a map of what states are affected and what to avoid:

Another interesting thing is that the tomato food poisoning problem started in April but we just started hearing about it in June.

Here are some tomato safety tips to consider:

If you are in the affected states — watch the tomatoes in the salad bar.

Don’t eat salsa made from raw tomatoes. Some salsas use cooked tomatoes.

Guacamole frequently has chopped tomatoes as an ingredient.

Sandwiches, especially some burgers, come with lettuce and tomato.

Treat the tomato like raw poultry and wash the cutting board after cutting; thoroughly wash tomatoes; refrigerate; and throw damaged tomatoes away.

Getting back to the salad potluck, this is what we shared:

  • Green bean salad with red, orange, and yellow peppers and feta cheese sprinkles in a citrus dressing
  • Chicken caesar salad
  • Warm potato salad made with Yukon gold potatoes
  • Spinach salad with strawberries
  • Brown rice pasta with julienne vegetables in a tuna vinaigrette dressing
  • Salad nicoise

It was divine and so were the chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert.

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